Spun out, sunburned and ready for the luxury of sit down toilets, we returned from SE Asia with slow feet, not quite ready to leave the leisure of the sun. We where lucky enough that the sun followed us back to the overly hospitable Portland, Oregon, where we touched down long enough for about two cups of coffee before we woke up on the south island of New Zealand. Then this happened:
The tent pole said “Snap!” The wind said “Boom!”
Together they where enough to snap my eyes open and stir the embers of childish camping fears. Those moments when an unrecognizable noise outside your tent creeps from innocent suspicion into a knot of fear. Suddenly, a twig breaking becomes the midnight Grizzly, huffing on your tent nylon.
The wind enveloped our 8 man community tent, with anger it tried to lay our structure down. In dim light, I can see Alex already getting dressed, an aura of determination surrounding him. I zip my waterproof jacket on over my thick wool christmas sweater, snowflakes sown into the fabric. The girls sit up from under the safety of their covers. Together, the men group at the door, like police officers raiding a house from the inside out, only our bulletproof vests are only repel water. I can feel the tent fabric lifting up under my feet, as if I am the only thing keeping it to the ground. Outside, a vicious howl.
Someone pulled the zipper and we rushed out.
An aquatic blizzard was waiting for us. The spray of liquid black, nearly toppled me over. Usually, a storm sounds worse on the inside of a tent, this was not the case. We had stumbled into a true Nor-wester, of which the south is famous for, they blow in strong from under a clear moon skys.
originally, the mission was to assess the condition of the battered tent and cracked pole, but all too soon the directives changed. Collectively, we attempt to yell the vitals of the tent over the sound of the wind. Things aren’t good. Kev was the one who made the call.
“Abandon ship!” It was 2 a.m.
Uncrowded (albiet cold) waves, Mussels off the rocks for dinner, good friends and sunshine made it all worth while. Its funny how sometimes its the bad parts that make the good story.